(Updates with quotes, full CHS results) Senior – 2017 third-place medalist – going as Class 2 District 4 182-pounds champion. Also headed to Columbia are runnersup Jones and Keithley, third-place finishers Wheeler, Valdez, and Sewell, and fourth-placers Washburn and Boyles.
(Full list of Chillicothe results at end)
EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — Eight Chillicothe High School Hornets – more than half of the contingent it sent to this past weekend’s Class 2 District 4 Tournament are bound for this week's state tournament at Mizzou Arena on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Leading CHS’ large group to state will be district champion and 2017 state third-place medal-winner Kayde Burton. The 182-pounds senior’s 150th victory of his career came in a 3-1 victory over Joel Martin of Oak Grove in the title match.
Joining him on the journey to Columbia will be two CHS district runnersup – 132-pounds junior Lavery Jones and 113-pounds freshman Connor Keithley, three district third-place finishers, and two who seized the fourth and final state berth.
The Hornets who took third over the weekend were Keegan Valdez at 285 pounds and sophomores Colten Sewell at 126 and Dawson Wheeler at 152.
Earning fourth were senior 120-pounder Zack Boyles and sophomore Isaac Washburn at 170.
“This year’s district tournament was a fun tournament,” Chad Smith, CHS head coach, declared.
“I felt we are wrestling our best at the right time of year.”
The state tourney at Columbia will begin Thursday morning with CHS having followed up its breakthrough 11-qualifiers performance in 2017 with its second-largest group of state qualifiers ever.
“Coming off of last year’s team that qualified 11 and losing six seniors off that team, I knew we would have a really young team this year,” Smith shared. “I have been extremely proud of how this young group has progressed this season.”
“We had some really good matches. Connor Keithley making the district finals as a freshman was awesome. Lavery Jones also had a really good district tournament finishing second. Dawson Wheeler wrestled his best of the season.”
The only big disappointment of the Hornets’ district-tourney participation was that senior Erek Brose – a 2017 state qualifier – was not sufficiently recovered from the ankle injury he unfortunately suffered in the previous weekend’s final regular-season outing.
Brose, a strong possibility to go back to state in the 220-pounds division, tried to go in his quarterfinals bout Friday night, but had to bow out of it with an injury default after the bout had begun, CHS coaches reported Saturday. When it came his turn to wrestle again later Friday and he could not, what technically goes into the books as a medical forfeit ended his season and career.
It’s likely there was no more satisfying moment for any Hornet Saturday than when senior Boyles pinned his opponent 1:02 into the second period of the consolation semifinals Saturday.
When the official’s hand slapped the mat ending the bout, Boyles (28-18) could erase the memory of the same bout-level 12 months earlier when, less than 25 seconds away from gaining a trip to state as he led by a point, his opponent was able to flip the result and leave the Hornet on the outside looking in, as far as state was concerned.
The emotional pain of his near-miss likely was amplified when it subsequently turned out he became of the only one of the 12 Hornets competing at the 2017 district event who did not advance to state.
“He was determined all year to not let that happen again,” Smith confirmed afterward, “and made it happen this time.”
Burton (46-4) not only will go to state this week as CHS’ lone district champion, but also as one of the very top contenders for the 182-pounds state crown. The website missouriwrestling.com currently ranks the Hornet third among Class 2 wrestlers in the state at that weight
“Kayde is wresting the best I have seen him,” assessed Smith after seeing him use, almost on cue, a takedown in the last 20 seconds to win the district-title bout 3-1.
“Kayde will be shooting for the top of the podium in Columbia, so we have some work to do,” the coach says.
Only Sewell and Valdez join third-time-qualifier Burton in making the return trip to state after being part of last year’s historic CHS group.
Sewell (33-12), who wound up fourth at 106 pounds in ’17, goes at 126 pounds – three weight-divisions up – this time.
“Colten had a really tough bracket with three (missouri wrestling.com state-ranked) wrestlers, including himself (fifth) in it,” Smith noted. “He wrestled well to place third.”
Sewell controlled his third-place bout from start to finish to win 6-0 over Kade Wilmes of Maryville.
Valdez heads to Columbia hoping for markedly different fortunes from a year ago. He sustained a knee injury about a minute into his opening state bout last February, leading to a pin seconds later and a subsequent medical forfeit in the “wrestlebacks.”
The CHS head coach expects to see the team’s “big man” to win some at state this time around.
“Keegan is back to his old self after last year’s injury,” mused Smith. “He looks to be back to being able to wrestle how he wants to.”
Chillicothe's district day wrapped up when Valdez pinning his third-place opponent in the first minute, slightly improving his first-round pairing at state, where he’ll take on another district’s runnerup.
Jones (42-15) became a first-time state participant Saturday morning when decision at Kansas City: St. Pius X opponent 8-5 to advance to the title round.
CHS’ second-leading winner this season behind Burton, Jones didn’t get “out of the blocks” the way he wanted to in the championship battle with Hunter Williams of tourney host Excelsior Springs. Barely a minute into the bout, having been taken down, the Hornet found himself on his back and, after only 73 seconds, lost.
Keithley also dropped his first-place bout, but in a close one.
The CHS frosh scored first and led Anthony Erickson of Oak Grove 3-2 in the third and final period before Erickson was able to get a “reverse” that gave him the upper hand, 4-3.
When Keithley, despite several bids to slip free of his foe for an escape and a tying point, he could not quite pull it off and had to settle for second spot.
At 152 pounds, sophomore Wheeler backed up a third-period gamble to capture third place.
In a rematch with River Sisk of St. Joseph: Lafayette, who Wheeler had decisioned 10-8 the night before, the CHS grappler voluntarily yielded an escape point on a restart with a minute remaining of a then-scoreless third-place bout, sensing Sisk had been getting close to earning either an escape or reversal while Wheeler tried to sustain control from the “top” position.
Hoping to get a takedown that could give him the lead, the Hornet soon went low after the restart, got Sisk’s leg, and took him to the mat for the two points he sought.
Fortunately, he followed up that advantage by getting the opponent momentarily on his back, yielding two additional near-fall points that erased the possibility of Sisk being able to retake the lead with a reversal. Although Sisk got loose in the final couple of seconds, that only narrowed the margin of Wheeler’s win to 4-2.
Burton’s crown made it three years in a row CHS has had a district king, following Aaron Baker in 2016 and Chase Minnick last year. Baker went on to be state runnerup and Minnick champion.
The last time Chillicothe had at least one district champion three consecutive years was 2007-09.
Like Minnick last year, Burton’s district title comes on the heels of also winning the Midland Empire Conference title in his weight class.
CHILLICOTHE INDIVIDUAL RESULTS in CLASS 2 DISTRICT 4 TOURNAMENT
Friday-Saturday, Feb. 9-10, 2018 – at Excelsior Springs
(CHS wrestlers’ season won-lost records in parentheses after name; opponents’ season records listed after school name)
106: Sheldon Rader (25-23) – bye; lost 6-1 to Kaden Scarborough (Oak Grove) 22-22; bye; won 3-2 over Andy Nguyen (St. Joseph: Lafayette) 15-23; Caleb Worland (Cameron) 43-16 won by fall 0:44
113: Connor Keithley (38-10) – bye; bye; won 7-1 over Will Courtney (Savannah) 38-14; lost 4-3 to Anthony Erickson (Oak Grove) 27-14. Second place
120: Zack Boyles (28-18) – bye; won by fall over Joshua Sneed (Center) 24-18 3:27; lost 16-0 technical fall to Tucker Macwilliam (Oak Grove) 29-8; won by fall over Aiden Perry (Benton) 20-24 2:02; lost 5-4 to Thorin Green (Cameron) 41-17. Fourth place
126: Colten Sewell (33-12) – bye; won 16-1 tech fall over Kelvin Marquina (Alta Vista Charter) 7-6; lost 7-1 to Keegan Scarborough (Oak Grove) 30-18; won 10-0 major decision over Jaden Thompson (Cameron) 26-25; won 6-0 over Kade Wilmes (Maryville) 26-16. Third place
132: Lavery Jones (42-15) – won by fall over Noah Duncan (Savannah) 2-15 0:49; won by fall over Karthi Murari (Pembroke Hill) 19-18 2:57; won 8-5 over Gavin Ott (St. Pius X (Kansas City)) 32-12; lost by fall to Hunter Williams (Excelsior Springs) 25-16 1:13. Second place
138: Daniel Hoel (6-19) – bye; lost by fall to Grant Thompson (Cameron) 25-21 0:51; lost by fall to Brody Armstrong (Oak Grove) 19-16 3:57.
145: Kaleb Mullikin (16-31) – bye; lost by fall to Dylan Scarborough (Oak Grove) 14-18 2:58; bye; won by fall over Andru Walling (Lincoln College Prep) 17-9 2:08; lost by fall to Kayne Lamison (Cameron) 45-18 1:58.
152: Dawson Wheeler (29-23) – bye; won 10-8 over River Sisk (St. Joseph: Lafayette) 28-13; lost by fall to Daylyn Snelling (Center) 36-8 0:24; won 4-2 over Mitchell Berndt (Excelsior Springs) 14-13; won 4-2 over Sisk (Lafayette) 28-13. Third place
160: Donald McCracken (16-9) – bye ; lost 21-9 major decision to Noah Sears (Oak Grove) 24-15; bye; lost 7-6 to Jesse Glise (Savannah) 22-16.
170: Isaac Washburn (27-15) – bye; lost 5-3 to Alex Barker (Benton) 30-21; won 14-0 major decision over Kalen Kemp (Oak Grove) 5-28; won by fall over Trevor Rey (Center) 37-15 4:29; won 4-3 over Brock Cunningham (Savannah) 30-19; lost 7-5 to Eddie Omecene (St. Pius X (Kansas City)) 29-9. Fourth place
182: Kayde Burton (46-4) pla – bye; won by fall over Jarrett Partridge (Maryville) 18-29 0:32; won by fall over Wyatt Burnett (Cameron) 23-18 1:17; won 3-1 over Joel Martin (Oak Grove) 34-13. First place
195: Matt Callen (31-19) – won 14-6 major decision over Kole Kennedy (Excelsior Springs) 12-17; won 6-2 over Dalan Myers (Cameron) 40-25; lost by fall to Curtis Weston (Benton) 41-3 1:05; lost 4-2 to Jacob Search (Maryville) 25-22.
220: Erek Brose (30-17) – bye; lost by injury default (1st period) to Andrew Neeley (Cameron) 26-12; medical forfeit to Jacob Reuter (Maryville) 18-22.
285: Keegan Valdez (24-9) – bye; won by fall over Devin Alewine (Oak Grove) 15-15 2:36; lost by fall to Joe Bryant (Cameron) 47-2 1:23; won by fall over Jaydon Phi (Center) 11-5 2:05; won by fall over Dylan Casey (Excelsior Springs) 15-14 0:45. Third place